Department of Health victim of suspected cyberattack

The Department of Health is understood to be a victim of a suspected cyberattack, similar to the one that struck the Health Service Executive on Friday.

The Irish Times reports that the Department has shut down its systems.

On Friday, Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Ossian Smyth said the office of the Government chief information officer had identified issues at the Department of Health.

He said there may also have been a “serious breach” and that the department’s systems would be examined over the weekend alongside the HSE systems to assess the extent of any damage done.

It comes as the HSE is in the process of contacting thousands of patients to reschedule appointments, following Friday’s attack on its IT systems.

All outpatient and radiology services are impacted, although chemotherapy and dialysis services, along with the vaccination programme, are continuing as normal.

Efforts are continuing the identify the extent of the attack, and if personal patient data has been stolen.

HSE chief operations officer, Anne O’Connor, told Newstalk radio on Sunday that work has begun on rebuilding the health services’s systems.

“We have found that we do have some clean back-up data available to be able to rebuild our servers from, however, we have thousands upon thousands of virtual servers, so each server is going to have to be rebuilt and brought back up individually so it’s going to be a slow process. Our system has been very significantly compromised across the board.”

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